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If you are new to exercise, then take it slowly. This is because if you do too much, too fast, it can cause injury to the muscles and joints, and may actually worsen your health, especially if you've been inactive for a long time. As your energy and health improve, you will be able to tolerate larger amounts of exercise, which will lead greater benefits such as weight loss and increased energy.
Research has shown that to lose 10 percent of your body weight, and keep it off, you need to exercise for one hour, five days a week. However, this level of exercise is only required if you are overweight, and not everyone needs this amount of exercise.
Most of us should aim for about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, five days a week. The important thing is to be consistent, make exercise a part of your daily routine, and try to keep up the same level of exercise.
Walking is an excellent choice to start with if you are overweight, as it is low-risk and inexpensive. When starting out as a beginner, slow-paced walking will produce benefits, but after a while, you will need to walk faster and/or farther to see any results.
Regardless of your starting level, the more vigorous your walking pace, the more dramatic the conditioning effects on the body will be. When walking for exercise you should walk at a steady pace that is fast enough to cause your heart rate to rise.
Increase your intensity regularly
Once you become comfortable with a routine, it is important to increase the intensity in order to continue benefiting.
Once you get in shape, you'll need to walk for more than two hours to achieve significant health benefits. Therefore, it may be wise to choose a more vigorous activity such as jogging, cycling or strength training, instead of just walking.
Ideally you should exercise at an intensity that raises your heart rate and makes it somewhat difficult to talk to the person next to you. If you can comfortably talk to the person next to you, you aren't working hard enough to produce the benefits you need to lose weight. However, if you are breathing so heavily that you cannot carry on a conversation at all, then you are exercising too hard and need to cut back a bit.
Using this simple technique as a guide will assure that you're constantly increasing your intensity as your fitness level increases.
Stick with it!
For those new to exercise, its not just understanding its benefits, but also finding the motivation to start -and stick to a regime. Here are a few tips to help make you active, focused and motivated:
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